Category Archives: Greece

Athens Still Lacks Legal Mosques

About two hundred years ago, Greece was part of the Ottoman Empire and there were thousands of Muslims who lived in Athens. Fast forward two hundred years and it is 2009 and there are 120,000 Muslims in Athens, but not a single mosque in which people pray is legal under Greek laws. A Greek couple who rented their basement to some Muslims are being fined because the tenants converted the area into a mosque in which people can pray. Several thousand Pakistanis are fighting the closing of the mosque because it is the only one available for them to pray. Lawyers argue that one must secure permission to use an area as a mosque for prayer, but city authorities will not grant any such permission.

Neighbors complained about the mosque which they disliked because it led to the gathering of large crowds of people anxious to get into the small area. For years, many bodies and the European Union have complained about the absence of a legal mosque for Muslims, but for some strange reason city authorities just can’t get around to granting legal permission to pray.

Riots In Greece As Immigrants Clash With Police

Greece has become a port of entry to migrants from Africa and the Middle East who seek to become part of the European Union success story. Yesterday, Greek police clashed with immigrants in the port of Patras after an immigrant was struck by a truck driver. The immigrants apparently thought it was a deliberate action and they poured into the streets in search of revenge. Patras has become a gathering point for immigrants from Africa, the Middle East and Asian immigrants who seek to hop across the Adriatic and find work in Italy. Last month there were demonstrations by truck drives who complained immigrants constantly sought to hitch rides and this frequently resulted in violence.

Perhaps, it is time for the African Union to sit down with the European Union in an effort to organize the process of immigration. This is not an issue that will disappear. In fact, as the economic crisis deepens we can expect even more violent demonstrations and anger on the part of all involved in the immigrant problem.

Immigrant Children In Greece Left Behind

The European Union may take action against Greece unless it scraps a new law which forbids children of undocumented immigrants from applying for the coveted EU-wide longterm residence status– a permanent form of residence. Under a new Greek law, only the Greece-born children of immigrants may apply for this residence permit, provided they are 18 and their parents reside legally in the country. The European Union does permit children under the age of 18 to apply for permanent residency and there is concern the Greek law may be in violation of EU laws. Greek officials insist that if an immigrant came illegally and has not been able to legalize their position in Greece they will be deported and any children under 18 must accompany them.

Historically, the United States of America was among the few nations which grant citizenship automatically to anyone born in the country regardless of the status of their parents. Greece apparently claims a child’s citizenship follows the status of their parents. The American model is an inclusive one which recognizes that once born in the country, one will be regarded as a citizen.

Crisis In Greek Police

Greece was rocked by violent anti-police riots in December after a policeman shot and killed a teenager. The resulting explosion of anger revealed deep seated antagonism toward the police among young people who regard them as excessively violent. The Revolutionary Struggle terror group issued a statement saying the police were legitimate targets for assassination and warned all members of the force to resign or face the consequences. The urban terror group admitted it shot at police during the riots. The result of the riots has been to lower morale among members of the force.

The government is now investigating the possibility of recruiting more police from the ranks of immigrant groups, particularly among those who received a Greek school education and are familiar with the law. Christos Fotopoulos, head of the Panhellenic Confederation of Police Officers, said it was time to expand those who are in the police. “As long as the state refuses to deal with the new reality, there will be more incidents of racism, and the police will suffer the consequences when others are actually to blame.”

Unfortunately, a survey of the police revealed they are bigots since most oppose recruiting children of immigrants into the force.

Does Government Require Religious Oaths?

Europe has an ancient heritage of Christianity being involved in government so it is not surprising that many nations still use religious centered oaths in order to swear in officials. Archbishop leronymos, head of the Church of Greece made an unusual suggestion by arguing that the taking of religious oaths by politicians should be abolished. There was some negative reaction to his suggestion, but it is still unclear whether he meant all oaths taken by government officials or some oaths. Several bishops while supporting the idea of abolishing oaths in assuming a position in government also noted if a person can not swear on the Bible to uphold the Constitution, then that individual is not someone to be trusted.

In days gone by, most Europeans were Christians, but these days, Europe includes peoples of very diverse backgrounds and religions. It is time to end the use of a religious oath and allow those who do not feel comfortable taking such a position due to their own religion, the right to just take office and promise to obey the Constitution.

Is Athens Flu Catching?

There is speculation riots by Greek youth against their nation’s corrupt politics may spread to other European nations. Yesterday, young Athens demonstrators spray-painted two slogans on the French Institute which said: “Spark in Athens. Fire in France. Insurrection is coming.” the other said: “france, greece, uprising everywhere.” The Greek riots may be picked up by modern forms of youth communication such as the Internet or Facebook or MySpace in order t spur youth to rebel against all forms of authority. For two weeks, Greek youngsters have been engaged in an orgy of rioting and destruction which has evolved from anger over the death of a fifteen year old boy into general mayhem.

Youngsters are protesting against a corrupt government, and against attempts to institute changes in an education system which has scant meaning to contemporary students. In a sense, the students reject change and are protesting in order to maintain the status quo even though they dislike the status quo.

France has all the ingredients for a riot. Students are not pleased with the current political system, they don’t like the university system, they don’t like globalism and they recognize their are deep seated problems in dealing with multicultural groups. European youth want change but oppose change. In a sense, they are rootless and without a vision about the future.

Greece–First World Internet Sparked Youth Riots?

Students in Bordeaux hurled flaming garbage cans at the Greek consulate and there were other similar protests around the world as young people expressed support for the youth of Greece. Pupils staged protests across Athens as self-styled anarchists clashed with police in an attempt to prove the government was wrong about the decline of riots in the capital. Forensic tests appear to dispute claims by the police the 15 year old whose shooting by police initiated the violence died due to a bullet that ricocheted. In Athens a protest march that began at the University of Athens escalated to a riot by nightfall. In the district of Patissia, hundreds of students clashed with police while near Piraeus about 700 pupils marched on a prison only to be halted by tear gas.

There were sit-ins at about 100 universities in which it was apparent students were not only concerned about the boy’s death but about education “reforms” proposed by the government. There is abundant evidence web sites were providing directions as to the location of protests and providing Internet followers with information on how to join the demonstrations.

Perhaps, future historians will identify the Greek protests as among the first examples of the Internet fostering riots in many places.

Greek Youth In Explosion Of Anger Defy Government

Thousands descended on the coastal suburb of Faliro for the funeral of Alexandros Grigoropoulos, who was shot by police on Saturday and thus initiated days and nights of rioting and violence that has transformed Athens into a war zone. Before the funeral ended, young men and women were hurling stones, iron bars and marble slabs at the police who fired back with tear gas. It is estimated in Athens alone, more than 200 stores, 50 banks and countless cars have been damaged in the wild explosion of anger. Shops have shut down and hospitals report a surge of wounded people. Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, who holds a one seat majority in Parliament may be forced to hold a new election and most probably will go down to defeat since the nation’s youth has lost confidence in his ability to direct the nation.

At the Athens Polytechnic, a center of youth, men and women broke up marble slabs and prepared fire bombs and promised to turn the unrest into “an uprising the likes of which Greece has never seen.” One young man commented, “this is not just about the kid, it’s about our dreadful education and economic situation. It’s our belief and hope that this is the beginning of a rebellion against the system.”

Union leaders are prepared to strike and close down airline flights and ferries. Is this the first example of young men and women rebelling against the system which has created an economic mess?

Greek Youth Riot Over Police Shooting

Thousands of Greek youths rioted in several cities across the country over the death of a teenage boy who was shot by police. The young people were armed with stones, batons, and firebombs which they fired a the police as well as other forms of authority. By nightfall, several areas of Athens resembled a war zone with glass, rubble, and broken furniture in the streets. Local TV showed youth erecting barricades as police fired tear gas in their direction in an effort to restore order to Greek cities. Many rioters who were being pursued by police sought sanctuary in the universities which historically are off ground to the police. Thousands of young people marched through the streets of Athens shouting, “Down with the murderers in uniform.”

Prime Minister Costas Karemanlis publicly apologized to the father of Alexandros Grigoropoulos who was shot by police. Most probably the outburst of youth anger is deeper than the death of a single boy by police, but may reflect a feeling the government of Greece is still run by the “old boys network” and is not responsive to the need for a modern, honest government that is in tune with needs of the 21st century. According to Professor Thanos Dokos, “there are a lot of disoriented young people who feel they don’t have much to expect from the future and are very disconnected.” We can expect more such outbursts of anger as the recession continues to spread.

Greek Children Decry Racism

Greek schoolchildren were recently asked by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees(UNHCR) to submit essays in which they could express their feelings concerning racism in their own country Greece, along with most European nations, has experienced the arrival over the past few decades of immigrants from many nations. Maria-Anastassia Louka, who submitted the winning essay, noted that many older Greeks were mistrustful of foreigners. “immigrants want to create relationships with us but Greeks keep their distance.” She also noted many Greeks purchase goods from foreigners because their products are often cheaper, but this is done secretly so others will not know they are buying from foreigners.

Other students argued Greece has a lot to learn from foreigners. Eletheria Tsaknaki, sad, “I want to appeal to the government to listen to political refugees and not abandon them to an uncertain fate.” Sometime the words of children are more meaningful than the hate that comes from adult voices.